She came, she saw, and she liked what she saw.
RTA Primary Metal president and CEO Jacynthe Cote was in town for a couple of days last week, touring the smelter and construction site and meeting with local stakeholders including the Haisla and contractors.
“I’ve seen a lot of passion, a lot of energy,” she said, adding that while it was a complex project, “we’re well equipped to deliver.”
Referring to the total cost of the project and time to complete it, Cote said RTA was spending the equivalent of $3.1 million per day.
Looking at her watch she added, “We are at mid-day so we have invested $1.5 million (so far) today.”
Turning to local employment opportunities created by the project, Cote noted up until now 62 per cent of the work had gone to area contractors and 95 per cent to BC businesses, “which is absolutely spectacular.”
And while those percentages would likely dip in the future as more out-of-town and -out-of-province companies were hired to do jobs that required specific expertise, she emphasized, “the number of hours (for locals) will go substantially up.”
Cote noted that when the project hit peak activity, there would be 2,500 people involved in it, but only 1,400 beds at the construction camp. That peak is expected in the first quarter of next year.
While that would mean a lot of people living in town, she said “the message I am getting it is the community wants it.”
And if the influx did become a problem, she said RTA would make adjustments.
Saying RTA wanted this project to be a showcase, Cote added, “That is going to be beneficial for the region and build capabilities that will useful in the years to come not only for us, but other organisations as well” – a reference to other projects proposed for this area.
And in keeping with RTA’s constant mantra when it comes to the modernisation, Cote said, “We want this project to be one of the safest in the world.”